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AMD vs. Intel systems

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Last response: in Systems
March 3, 2009 10:23:39 AM

Hi all! I hope you can advise me (and I hope this is the right place for this). I'm looking into getting a shiny new computer in April and in doing my research I have come up with two possible systems in which the only difference is the motherboard and cpu (they're even very similar in price). Problem is, I'm not sure which to choose. I would be extremely grateful for some (impartial) feedback on my ideas so far. Here they are:

AMD Phenom II X4 940 system
Graphics card (PCIe): MSI R4850-T2D512 x2
Processor: AMD Phenom II X4 940
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-620HX
Case: Cooltek K2 Midi Tower
Case fans: Arctic-Cooling AF12025 Fan L Box x3
DVD-Burner: LG GH-22LS
Mainboard: Asus M4A79 Deluxe
Hard drive (SATA): Western Digital WD5001AALS 500 GB
RAM: Patriot DIMM 8 GB DDR2-800 Kit

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 system
Graphics card (PCIe): MSI R4850-T2D512 x2
Processor: Intel® Core 2 Duo E8500
PSU: Corsair CMPSU-620HX
Case: Cooltek K2 Midi Tower
Case fans: Arctic-Cooling AF12025 Fan L Box x3
DVD-Burner: LG GH-22LS
Mainboard: GigaByte GA-EP45-UD3P
Hard drive (SATA): Western Digital WD5001AALS 500 GB
RAM: Patriot DIMM 8 GB DDR2-800 Kit

Currently, I'm leaning towards the AMD system, but I'm wondering if the Intel system might'nt have better long-term upgradability.

Thank you in advance for any contributions!

More about : amd intel systems

March 3, 2009 10:46:13 AM

You might want to do some more research. If your going to go with an Intel dual core, then the obvious choice would be a E8400 seeing how it's cheaper, and clocks just as high as the E8500. And if you want something entirely for gaming, than I would say the Intel dual core seeing how it usually comes out on top of the AMD when it comes to gaming. If you have other uses for your PC other than gaming you believe a quad is the way to go...well then go with the quad.

btw what's with the 8 gigs of ram? You going to be doing video editing I'[m guessing ? Well if you are, then of course the quad would be the way to go. 4 gigs of ram is fine for gaming, 8 gigs is overkill and harder to overclock...which I'm guessing your going to do with that aftermarket heatsink.

So what is it your looking to do with this shiny new PC ? Maybe you could be more specific.

btw, why the 620w corsair ? The 650w corsair is at a much better price.
March 3, 2009 11:11:29 AM

April is a ways off and prices will change. You might even have some new CPU and GPU options by then.

You have two decent builds there, except for the case.

Why_Me has pretty much nailed everything. It's not a question of Intel vs. AMD, but quad vs. dual.

If you are still confused, have a look at the section about CPUs in my guide, stickied on top of the forum.
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March 3, 2009 11:23:28 AM

I would just get 1GPU instead of 2, you can go for the hd 4850x2. It tends to do slightly better than two 4850's in xfire. That way you save your other PCIEx16 slot, which you could use to throw another 4850 in for 3way xfire when your current configuration isn't cutting it.
March 3, 2009 11:24:39 AM

The intel build will have more upgradability for the CPU than the AMD build. That is the end of the road for the AMD build, but for the intel you could get a Q9650 to put in there when the E8500 isn't providing the firepower you need.

edit: ok that may not be the case actually for the AMD build, AMD will be releasing a 950 in the future, but I'm not sure how much longer that upgrade path will last, and the upgrade to the 950 won't be that big of an increase, the 940 will OC to the same level most likely. I'm not sure how long AMD will be offering backwards compatability with their new processors. There is already a fair few processors that would be upgrades for the E8500, and I think that Intel will release at least one more round of processors for LGA 775 for all those people who want to upgrade their builds.
March 3, 2009 11:38:08 AM

xthekidx said:

edit: ok that may not be the case actually for the AMD build, AMD will be releasing a 950 in the future, but I'm not sure how much longer that upgrade path will last, and the upgrade to the 950 won't be that big of an increase, the 940 will OC to the same level most likely. I'm not sure how long AMD will be offering backwards compatability with their new processors. There is already a fair few processors that would be upgrades for the E8500, and I think that Intel will release at least one more round of processors for LGA 775 for all those people who want to upgrade their builds.


Yeah I've wasted hours on that question as you probably have. I think part of the problem is AMD is having difficulty with DDR3 and so doesn't want to fully commit to AM3 just yet.
March 3, 2009 11:47:42 AM

I think its pretty safe to say though that the processors that come out on their new manufacturing processes in the future will probably not be huge upgrades from the 940 BE...about 4ghz seems to be the limit on those chips due to heat, if you are air cooling. If you have the money to watercool, then why bother with a cheaper CPU? When AMD goes to a 32nm process I doubt they will offer compatability with AM2+...although who knows, maybe DDR2 is here to stay for a while longer?
March 3, 2009 8:59:23 PM

Hiya! First off, thanks to everyone for taking the time to look over my post and reply - it's appreciated! :) 

Why_Me said:
You might want to do some more research.

Yup, that's why I'm here asking potentially inane questions.

If your going to go with an Intel dual core, then the obvious choice would be a E8400 seeing how it's cheaper, and clocks just as high as the E8500. And if you want something entirely for gaming, than I would say the Intel dual core seeing how it usually comes out on top of the AMD when it comes to gaming. If you have other uses for your PC other than gaming you believe a quad is the way to go...well then go with the quad.

Ok, that's sort of the impression I've been getting from what reviews I've read of intel vs amd, but I wondered if the new phenom II was pulling anything surprising out of the bag.

btw what's with the 8 gigs of ram? You going to be doing video editing I'[m guessing ? Well if you are, then of course the quad would be the way to go. 4 gigs of ram is fine for gaming, 8 gigs is overkill and harder to overclock...which I'm guessing your going to do with that aftermarket heatsink.

I've been dithering about that - I guess there isn't actually any urgency to have more ram than god right now. I pootle around with Photoshop and raytracing when the mood strikes, but in fairness that's probably not as intensive as video editing.

So what is it your looking to do with this shiny new PC ? Maybe you could be more specific.

Oooops, sorry! *embarassed* Basically it'll be my main home computer so it'll be expected to do everything. I am 99% certain to be putting 64-bit Vista on it, unless anyone comes up with a compelling reason for me not to (apparently, they've made it work ok now). I like gaming - I'm a fan of the HL series and crpgs and I'm intrigued by Bishock and Mass Effect - and I dabble lightly in graphics as mentioned above. Movie playback will be important too - I don't watch a lot of TV but I do watch a lot of films. I do tend to demand a lot from my pcs - I'm dreadful for having several programs running at once and expecting them all to run at sensible speeds as I flick between them with the attention span of a kitten in a feather factory; I'm quite protective of my system tray tho, and I try to keep it as empty as possible. I'll still hang on to my trusty laptop, but that'll probably just get used for playing older games that're likely to throw a hissy fit at Vista (I do love my old-skool games) and for when I'm travelling.

btw, why the 620w corsair ? The 650w corsair is at a much better price.

Indeed it is. I completely failed my Notice check to see that. Thanks!


Proximon said:
April is a ways off and prices will change. You might even have some new CPU and GPU options by then.

So I'm hoping! The plan was to look at what's just out of my range now and watch it fall in price over the next month. Plus, it gives me time to do research and make sure I'm actually buying what I want/need. Which is where pestering you guys comes in! ;) 

You have two decent builds there, except for the case.

Thanks! Any good case recommendations? The adjustments I've made to the list has already dropped the price a fair bit so I could probably afford a better one now. I'd rather it looked plain but with good airflow than just looks flashy for the hell of it with crap airflow.

Why_Me has pretty much nailed everything. It's not a question of Intel vs. AMD, but quad vs. dual.

If you are still confused, have a look at the section about CPUs in my guide, stickied on top of the forum.

I managed to have a read of it just now (I posted my first post from work during lunch and didn't have time to register much more than the existance of the component thread). Thanks very much for writing that, it confirmed some things I'd speculated on and gave me other things to think about that I hadn't yet considered.


xthekidx said:
I would just get 1GPU instead of 2, you can go for the hd 4850x2. It tends to do slightly better than two 4850's in xfire. That way you save your other PCIEx16 slot, which you could use to throw another 4850 in for 3way xfire when your current configuration isn't cutting it.

For some reason, I'd assumed that the 4850x2 would be out of my range and I hadn't realised that the x2s had an edge, either. Then I went and looked on the site I'm using for price references (www.alternate.de; I live in Germany), and I see that it's cheaper than the two separate cards. So, thanks for the awesome tip!


xthekidx said:
The intel build will have more upgradability for the CPU than the AMD build. That is the end of the road for the AMD build, but for the intel you could get a Q9650 to put in there when the E8500 isn't providing the firepower you need.

edit: ok that may not be the case actually for the AMD build, AMD will be releasing a 950 in the future, but I'm not sure how much longer that upgrade path will last, and the upgrade to the 950 won't be that big of an increase, the 940 will OC to the same level most likely. I'm not sure how long AMD will be offering backwards compatability with their new processors. There is already a fair few processors that would be upgrades for the E8500, and I think that Intel will release at least one more round of processors for LGA 775 for all those people who want to upgrade their builds.


That's been my gut feeling. I would much prefer a system that will tolerate a decent amount of me pulling bits out and replacing them with newer, shinier parts as required, including, as you say, an Intel quad core, should it be required. I think I'd be silly to rely on AMD supporting their current chipsets for too much longer. Intel it is then.


March 3, 2009 9:04:01 PM

What's your budget and does it inlude an O/S ?
March 3, 2009 9:21:23 PM

Why_Me said:
What's your budget and does it inlude an O/S ?

I'd prefer not to spend more than 1000 euros if possible. However, I'm going to cheat by buying the O/S and a monitor (22") this month to spread the cost out, so the 1000 beer tokens would just be for the system itself I guess. I've been using the "PC builder" feature on Alternate's website to check component compatability and with the changes I've made (4gb ram, 4850x2 graphics card, 650 Watt Corsair psu, non-stock cpu cooler) it's currently just over 900 euros and I predict that that'll go down quite a bit in a month. After all, I started properly investigating this about two weeks ago (my laptop gpu died - is fixed now tho) and the prices have fallen even in that short a time.

(Edit: ironically, English 64-bit Vista is cheaper from Alternate than from Amazon.co.uk and they have some nice-looking, affordable monitors too.)
March 3, 2009 9:30:22 PM

xthekidx said:
The intel build will have more upgradability for the CPU than the AMD build. That is the end of the road for the AMD build, but for the intel you could get a Q9650 to put in there when the E8500 isn't providing the firepower you need.

edit: ok that may not be the case actually for the AMD build, AMD will be releasing a 950 in the future, but I'm not sure how much longer that upgrade path will last, and the upgrade to the 950 won't be that big of an increase, the 940 will OC to the same level most likely. I'm not sure how long AMD will be offering backwards compatability with their new processors. There is already a fair few processors that would be upgrades for the E8500, and I think that Intel will release at least one more round of processors for LGA 775 for all those people who want to upgrade their builds.



Umm, what?

LGA775 is done. End of the road. In terms of future upgrades, the AMD system is a safer bet. I wouldnt be suprised at all to see 6 core PhenomIIs sometime in 2010. Perhaps even 8 or 12 core variants between now and the next big thing (Bulldozer if they dont change their mind).

Saying the Intel has more of an upgrade path is kind of silly, considering you start with a dual core. Think of it more as the AMD wont need an upgrade as soon.

March 3, 2009 9:36:08 PM

B-Unit said:
Umm, what?

LGA775 is done. End of the road. In terms of future upgrades, the AMD system is a safer bet. I wouldnt be suprised at all to see 6 core PhenomIIs sometime in 2010. Perhaps even 8 or 12 core variants between now and the next big thing (Bulldozer if they dont change their mind).

Saying the Intel has more of an upgrade path is kind of silly, considering you start with a dual core. Think of it more as the AMD wont need an upgrade as soon.



LOL...AMD is always releasing something in the future these days, and it's usually a dud. Look at the AMD releases these past few years, and they have always been steps behind the Intels. Read the reviews of AMD's vs Intel since 2006...it's pathetic.

To the OP, I'm see what I can come up with for under that price range....it will be in GPB (British Pounds)
March 3, 2009 9:55:45 PM

B-Unit said:
Umm, what?

LGA775 is done. End of the road. In terms of future upgrades, the AMD system is a safer bet. I wouldnt be suprised at all to see 6 core PhenomIIs sometime in 2010. Perhaps even 8 or 12 core variants between now and the next big thing (Bulldozer if they dont change their mind).

Saying the Intel has more of an upgrade path is kind of silly, considering you start with a dual core. Think of it more as the AMD wont need an upgrade as soon.

LGA 775 is not done. Intel is expected to release the E8700 dual core 3.5ghz processor sometime soon.

And Why_Me is right on the money. Yes LGA 775 and COre 2's is much older than the new Phenom II's, but that doesn't mean they still can't bitchslap them all over the place. Intel is waaay ahead of AMD as far as the advancements in processors go. I doubt they will abandon their Core 2 line when they are still the second best processor out there, second only to their top of the line product the i7. Clock for clock, Core 2's are faster than PII's as well. AMD is just now finally catching up to Intel's "old" processors.
March 3, 2009 9:56:58 PM

Why_Me said:
LOL...AMD is always releasing something in the future these days, and it's usually a dud. Look at the AMD releases these past few years, and they have always been steps behind the Intels. Read the reviews of AMD's vs Intel since 2006...it's pathetic.

To the OP, I'm see what I can come up with for under that price range....it will be in GPB (British Pounds)

Ah, and so the Intel vs. AMD war begins... (Hopes not really.) Honestly, so long as the system does what I require and offers reasonable flexibility and upgradeability, I'm really not that bothered which it's based on - heresy I know! ;)  I've had both AMD and Intel systems in the past and both have been fine.

Thanks very much Why_Me, I'm an ex-pat Brit so pounds are good! :D 
March 3, 2009 10:08:41 PM

I am not devoted to either company, but I am fully aware that AMD's PII's are not a step up from Core 2's...rather just an alternative. I judge the processors based on what I see in performance benchmarks, not what I want to see.
March 3, 2009 10:20:19 PM

Thekid makes a valid point. Just because AMD continues to release "new" processors does not make them better than the Core 2. Not to mention the fact that a Q9550 can put some hurt on a phenom chip.

I believe the phenom is supposed to be situated between the base c2q and the high end ones?
March 3, 2009 10:23:31 PM

Yeah the Q9550 is better than the PIIx4 940, and more often than not the 940 is better than the Q9400.
March 3, 2009 10:32:11 PM

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MB... £157.99 ex VAT
Gigabyte EX58-UD3R Intel X58 (Socket 1366) PCI-Express DDR3 Motherboard

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CP... £207.99 ex VAT
Intel Core i7 920 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - OEM

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS... £32.99 ex VAT
Scythe Ninja II CPU Cooler (Socket 478/754/939/940/AM2/LGA775)

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HS... £4.99 ex VAT
Scythe Socket LGA1366 Mounting Bracket

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=MY... £78.99 ex VA
OCZ 6GB DDR3 PC3-10666C9 Gold Low-Voltage Triple Channel Kit (3 X 2GB) (OCZ3G1333LV6GK)

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=HD... £48.99 ex VAT
Western Digital Caviar Black 500GB SATA-II 32MB Cache - OEM (WD5001AALS)

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CD... £13.99 ex VAT
LG GH22NS40 22x DVD±RW SATA Dual Layer ReWriter (Black) - OEM

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA... £72.99 ex VAT
Corsair TX 650W ATX2.2 SLi Compliant Power Supply

Total: £628.92 ex VAT = €703.98 ex VAT

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX... £299.99 ex VAT
XFX ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 2048MB GDDR5 TV-Out/Dual DVI/HDMI (PCI-Express) - Retail

Total: £918.91 ex VAT = €995.442 ex VAT

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=GX... £269.99 ex VAT
Leadtek GeForce GTX 285 1024MB GDDR3 TV-Out/Dual DVI (PCI-Express) - Retail

Total: £888.91 ex VAT = €1,029.28 ex VAT

*Good case down below with plenty of room and great airflow/cooling

http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=CA... £55.99 ex VAT
Coolermaster CM-690 Dominator Case - Black (No PSU)
March 3, 2009 10:44:11 PM

Those are all good parts, but Overclockers hasn't had good prices lately.

I've seen good prices here recently:
Aria PC
ebuyer
Pixmania Just a gadget store but they have some good memory at good prices, and other stuff. See their G.Skill memory... one of the few places I have found it in the UK.

You would think I lived there or something.
March 3, 2009 10:59:58 PM

Im not saying PII owns Core2, but to get the better performance you pay for it. If you can have a quad that is as good, perhaps a bit behind, the Q9550 for $60 less, why not? Add that there will be new chips for the AMD platform down the road, and I would say you have a really good option in PhenomII.

Now to be fair the real sweet spot is the X3 PhenomII, which would be my choice in this situation.
March 3, 2009 11:44:43 PM

Proximon said:
Those are all good parts, but Overclockers hasn't had good prices lately.

I've seen good prices here recently:
Aria PC
ebuyer
Pixmania Just a gadget store but they have some good memory at good prices, and other stuff. See their G.Skill memory... one of the few places I have found it in the UK.

You would think I lived there or something.


I checked ebuyer, and overclockers had them beat on the memory, cpu (OEM ftw) and motherboard. You know now though that you can put together an i7 rig with your budget. And i7 is the the way to go these days.

Just take that build I posted and check those sites with the parts I posted for the best prices so you get the best deal for your money and put it together . :) 
March 4, 2009 7:06:36 PM

@Why_Me: Thanks a lot for that! I wasn't considering an i7 system at all, but this has opened my mind to the possibility. However, purchasing looks like it's going to be further delayed. Stupid bloody utilities bills and other unexpected expenses! :fou: 

Proximon said:
Those are all good parts, but Overclockers hasn't had good prices lately.

I've seen good prices here recently:
Aria PC
ebuyer
Pixmania Just a gadget store but they have some good memory at good prices, and other stuff. See their G.Skill memory... one of the few places I have found it in the UK.

You would think I lived there or something.

Trust me, shopping around is part of the plan - I live in Germany at the moment and for some reason the prices on components seem to be bonkers over here (although I'm not ruling out the possibility that I'm not checking the cheapest places). F'rinstance, I looked up the exact same graphics card (XFX 4870 x2 2gb) on www.alternate.de and it comes in at a wince-worthy 469 euros (418 quid vs. 344 quid on overclockers.co.uk). Which sucks. Especially when I hear how much cheaper components are in the US compared to the UK. *sigh* If anyone can suggest some affordable German component sites/stores, I'd be incredibly grateful! On the British front, it looks like scan.co.uk has some good prices too. Edit: I've just found the price comparison/finder on the German version of Tom's Hardware. I'll be cruising that looking for some good prices, I think.

Why_Me said:
I checked ebuyer, and overclockers had them beat on the memory, cpu (OEM ftw) and motherboard. You know now though that you can put together an i7 rig with your budget. And i7 is the the way to go these days.

Just take that build I posted and check those sites with the parts I posted for the best prices so you get the best deal for your money and put it together . :) 

Will do. Like I said, my time-frame just got extended, but probably only by about a month. I dearly hate the way Germany typically deals with utilities - they charge you a fixed amount each month based on what they estimate you'll use, which is in turn based on previous usage. Which is fine until you find yourself exceeding that nominal amount, because you don't know anything about it until you get a huge "catch-up" bill at the start of the year, an amount that would have been palatable had it been spread out over several months but instead just kills your finances. Oh, and they up your monthly payments based on the new "usage prediction" too. Grrrr! In some ways I'm going to be rather glad to leave Germany. /end rant at Germany

Anywho, it gives me more time to look for the best deals, and I get to watch the prices falling on all those shinies.